Tag Archives: hockey

New Alexandria-based team joins EOSHL as part of 2020 expansion

Heading into the second season of the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League, we now know that the region’s senior ‘A’ hockey loop will feature two new franchises, one of them based in Alexandria.

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Pipers jersey mock-up

The Glengarry Pipers, as the club will be known, are owned by Ryan McLeod. Jamie Lavigne will serve as general manager and coach. Last season, he was an assistant coach with the championship-winning Cornwall Prowlers.

The Pipers will play out of the Glengarry Sports Palace (Billy Gebbie Arena), in Alexandria.

Lavigne tells me that he has received confirmation from the GSP that they can accommodate the team’s schedule. A future meeting will finalize the details.

The club will be looking for volunteers to help out with ticket sales, provide game-day security, and assist with other tasks to help make competitive senior ‘A’ hockey a success in Alexandria.

“This is my first year acting as a GM for a team so I’m nervous,” Lavigne admits, adding that he is “very confident that we will have a competitive team that will also draw in decent crowds.”

The GM notes that the EOSHL “showcases exceptional hockey,” drawing players with junior hockey experience through to the professional ranks in North America and internationally.

“This is top-calibre hockey, which I found out last year when I was the assistant coach with the championship Cornwall Prowlers. I was given a chance from general manager and head coach Mitch Gagne, and I’m forever grateful.” Lavigne stresses that he gained coaching experience along with an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of how a club at this level operates.

“I’m extremely excited for the season to approach and look forward to seeing the county (Glengarry) come together to support the team and continue to grow the great game.”

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Facebook screen grab

In addition to the Pipers, the EOSHL confirms that the North Frontenac Phantoms will join the league for the 2020-21 season. The club will play out of the North Frontenac Community Arena, in Godfrey. The Phantoms are owned and operated by Colton Distefano and his wife, Sydony.

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As noted in a separate post, senior ‘A’ hockey will return to Maxville for a second season, under new ownership and with the club renamed the Mustangs.

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New ownership saves senior hockey in Maxville

Senior ‘A’ hockey will return to Maxville for the 2020-21 season, as new ownership has taken over the community’s EOSHL club.

As previously reported in this post, the Maxville Millionaires franchise was taken over by the league in March, following the failure of the club to complete payment of league fees for the inaugural campaign.

On March 27, Matt Thompson and Maxime Boucher purchased the Millionaires roster from the EOSHL, committing to keep the club in Maxville, albeit under a new moniker, the Mustangs (Junior ‘C’ hockey fans may recall that name previously used by the Maxville team which played in the EOJCHL/NCJHL from 1998 through 2010, when the club was purchased by new investors and moved to Papineuville, Quebec.)

In preparation for the second season of senior ‘A’ hockey, the Mustangs have announced details on their recruitment and training camp.

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EOSHL reveals league awards for inaugural season

On Monday, the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League announced its 2019-20 league-wide award winners.

EOSHL awards

Season play concluded on March 6, when the second-ranked Cornwall Prowlers claimed the inaugural EOSHL championship over the regular season’s top team, the West Carleton Rivermen.

The Prowlers had hoped to celebrate the triumph with two community events on March 21, but those events have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Spink twins reflect on Finnish hockey season, thank fans (video)

Tyson and Tylor Spink recently returned from Finland, following the cancellation of the country’s elite professional hockey league season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 27-year-old forwards played for the Ässät Aces, in Pori, Finland, and led their team in scoring through the shortened 2019-20 season. (See my previous story for more.)

Via Twitter, the Spinks thanked their supporters.

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Hawkesbury Hawks begin plans for new season with draft, camp announcements

The 2019-20 CCHL season came to an abrupt end of March 13, when Hockey Canada suspended all sanctioned events across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CJHL’s (governing body for junior ‘A’ hockey across Canada) subsequent announcement cancelled league playoffs and the national championship.

Prior to the shutdown, the region’s junior ‘A’ league held its annual bantam protect draft.

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Hawkesbury Hawks graphic

Hawkesbury’s first pick came fourth in the first round, as the Hawks chose Brad Horner, a defenceman from Vankleek Hill. He played last season with the Eastern Ontario Wild ‘AAA’ major bantam hockey team.

Other members of the Hawks 2020 draft class were Marc-Olivier McCarthy (forward, Glen Robertson), Yanick Blanchard (forward, Embrun), Derek Larocque (forward, Alexandria), Lucas Peever (forward, St. Albert), Mathieu Levesque (defenceman, Hawkesbury), Antoine Dorion (forward, Orleans), Jake Pulkinghorn (defenceman, Ottawa), Justin Flamini (defenceman, Cumberland), and Jayson McIntyre (forward, Orleans).

Of note, two of the draft selections are students at Alexandria’s École secondaire catholique Le Relais. Another student from the school was picked by the Cornwall Colts.

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From left are Mathieu Sauvé, Derek Larocque, and Marc-Olivier McCarthy. (Le Relais photo)

The Hawks ended the 2019-20 season second in the Yzerman Division, with a record of 36 wins, 24 regulation losses, and 2 overtime defeats, for 74 points. The squad was slated to open the CCHL playoffs against the third-place team from the Robinson Division, the Smiths Falls Bears (33-24-5, for 71 points). Interestingly, the teams had identical regular-season powerplay and penalty kill percentages, at 18.3 and 86 percent, respectively.

On the cancellation of the playoffs, Alexandria’s Felix Sauve, a rookie defenceman with the Hawks, admitted to me, “It sucks! We had a lot of key pieces this year which could have brought us far in the long run. It’s hard to say goodbye to some of the boys since you don’t know when you will meet or cross paths again.” However, the teen acknowledged, “The safety of everyone is the number 1 priority, so it was the right move.”

Sauve saw action in 52 games, notching 1 goal and 5 assists, along with 32 penalty minutes.

He was among several local athletes who were mainstays on the roster this season, including forwards Mathieu Sabourin and Jeremy Quesnel.

Hawk Luke Grainger was honoured with a league award as the 2019-20 Top Graduating Player. The skater from Beaconsfield led the CCHL in scoring with 82 points (34 goals, 48 assists) in 56 games. He’s committed to playing NCAA hockey next season at Western Michigan University for next season.

In the league’s announcement, head coach Rick Dorval was quoted as saying, “Luke’s development with and without the puck has been tremendous. He is one of the most electrifying players in this league and is always a threat to opponents. He can move as fast east-west as north-south. We will miss him next year but wish him the best of luck at WMU.”

Aside from Grainger, the Hawks bid adieu to Matt Gasuik, Azzaro Tinling, Sebastien Paquette, Shane McGrath, and Zach Johnson.

2020 Summer Camp

Registration for the Hawkesbury Hawks summer camp is now open. The event is scheduled for June 19 to 21, but is subject to change due to Hockey Canada mandates around the COVID-19 situation.

The camp will be held in Gloucester, at the Richcraft Sensplex. Entry is $250, and players will each have approximately 4.5 hours of ice time spread over three games.

For further details and to sign up, see this page on the Hawks website.

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EOSHL working to find new ownership for Maxville Millionaires

Earlier this week, the Maxville Millionaires announced on their Facebook page (which has since been deleted) that they were ceasing operations after just one year of senior ‘A’ hockey. The Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League, of which the Millionaires were one of four inaugural franchises, stated on March 24, “The EOSHL disappointed to announce that the Maxville Millionaires will no longer operate in the EOSHL as of this morning.”

Maxville Millionaires logo

Further, the league noted, “The Maxville organization was given a final deadline on March 22, 2020, to pay the team’s outstanding league fees. The payment was not received by the EOSHL on that final deadline date. This deadline was an extension from the original March 15” due date.

The remaining three ownership groups subsequently held a video conference call to explore options moving forward.

Ideally, the EOSHL will find a new ownership group for the Millionaires, keeping the team in Maxville and recovering “some or all the money owed by the Millionaires.”

Other options including allowing the roster to be purchased by an expansion team that will enter the 2020-2021 season or holding a dispersal draft of all current Millionaires players sometime in July, after the league has accepted its expansion teams.

In a statement on March 25, the EOSHL announced “to all our fans and the fans in Maxville, especially, we are working on a new ownership group that has come forward to keep the team in Maxville. Hopefully by Monday [March 30] we can have some solid and positive news for everyone.”

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Wrapping up the 2019-20 hockey season for the Char-Lan Rebels

At the conclusion of each junior ‘B’ hockey season, the Char-Lan Rebels CCHL2 hockey club traditionally hosts a year-end awards banquet, but due to COVID-19 concerns, that was not possible this time. Instead, the team wrapped up the campaign with a letter to players and fans online.

Included in the announcement was a list of team award winners for the 2019-20 season.

Owen Carter was named rookie of the year. The 6 ft. 2 in., 220 lb. defenceman from Ingleside logged 39 games and notched 21 points to go along with 107 penalty minutes.

The Sandilands Trophy for sportsmanship and playing ability was awarded to Alexandre Elie, a forward from St. Isidore. In 37 games, the 19-year-old recorded 41 points and 42 PIM.

Blueliner Dillon Spinner was named the recipient of the Kenneth A. MacDonald Award for overall proficiency. The 19-year-old from Fort Covington (New York) scored at a 0.57 points-per-game pace while accruing 54 PIM.

Taran Fiacco, from Cornwall, received the Marc Beaudet Memorial Award as best defensive forward. The 19-year-old, in his second season with the Rebels, played 37 games, recording 11 points and 21 PIM.

The Earle Sandilands Memorial Team Spirit Award is being shared by Rylan Iwachniuk and Paul Waldhauser, both forwards. Iwachniuk, aged 17, and Waldhauser, 18, both hail from Ingleside.

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Char-Lan Rebels photo

Noah Konink sees his name added to two trophies. He received the Dalton Amell Landscaping award as defenceman of the year and shared the most effective and dedicated player honours. The D-man from Long Sault is 21 years old and is the club’s lone graduating player. In his first full season with the Rebels, Konink played in 35 of the team’s 44 games, scoring 31 points and recording 22 PIM. His contribution included 11 power-play goals.

On the completion of his junior hockey career, team administration stated, “A tip of the cap goes out to our graduating defenceman Noah Konink. Thank you for all your contributions this season. The Rebels were very fortunate to have had you as part of the team.

The other winner of the most effective and dedicated player award was captain Joseph Samson. The Cornwall resident suited up for 40 games, notching 57 points and 108 PIM. His scoring included 10 power-play goals and 2 short-handed.

Samson was also named the recipient of the Robert Curran Memorial Trophy as MVP of the regular season.

Looking back on the 2019-20 CCHL2 campaign that saw Char-Lan finish sixth in the Martin Division, 11 points out of a playoff position, team staff noted it “was a year that began with much promise,” as the Rebels started strong, among the division leaders.

Coming off an exciting playoff run in 2018-19, the team added veterans Joe Samson and Noah Konink to a strong returning core, including Liam MacDonald, Taran Fiacco, and Dillon Spinner. We welcomed first-year players Owen Carter, Rylan Iwachniuk, Paul Waldhauser, and Kale MacCormick, as graduates of the U18 [Cornwall] Colts and Tim Cook from a USA high school. Jeff Carter [the team’s coach and general manager] made a few shrewd moves throughout the season, adding talented players Alexandre Elie, Hunter MacPherson, and Lochlan MacDonald via trade and re-acquiring Isaac Testani from the [CCHL] Cornwall Colts. We juggled six new faces through the crease, but eventually saw the emergence of promising young goaltender Ceili Picard. We also saw several affiliates make impacts in their debut.s. Unfortunately, the injury bug took its toll on key players like MacCormick, Parker Tallman, and Shane Gaudreau in a season that saw no player able to play all 44 games. While we fell short of the goal of making the playoffs, we made some definite progress. The future of the Char-Lan Rebels looks bright.

Char-Lan Rebels letter to players and supporters

The club extended a special thank you to Jeff Carter, assistant coach Kevin MacCormick, and trainer Dylan Seguin for their contributions through the season.

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Char-Lan Rebels CCHL Hockey club photo
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CCHL2 Glens delay scheduled March 25 board meeting

Due to COVID-19 concerns and a Hockey Canada directive to cease all hockey-related activities, as well as an order by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to close community and recreation facilities, the Alexandria Glens of the CCHL2 have deferred their board meeting, scheduled for March 25.

At this time of uncertainty in the sports world and otherwise, a new date for the meeting has not been set.

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Kieran Craig reflects on QMJHL hiatus

Alexandria’s Kieran Craig is back home with his family now, as COVID-19 concerns have forced a pause in the QMJHL season.

The 19-year-old forward is in his second campaign with the Gatineau Olympiques. At the stoppage in play, Craig had 48 points (22 goals, 26 assists) in 64 games. Among his tallies, he’s notched 6 game-winning goals.

While he’s having a great season, his team is mired in the basement of the Western Conference, on a record of 22 wins, 37 regulation time losses, and 5 overtime defeats. The Olympiques had four regular-season games remaining in their schedule.

On the season disruption, Craig tells me, “we are pretty much staying home and trying to be safe. What I’ve been told is that the team will update us as soon as they have heard something regarding our season.”

Gatineau’s last game, on March 8, went into the books as a 5-4 shootout win over Blainville-Boisbriand. Craig contributed 2 assists and notched the shootout winner.

The official notice of suspension of league play came down March 12 from the Canadian Hockey League, the body that oversees major junior hockey in Canada.

“The Canadian Hockey League and its three regional leagues, the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League, take the health and safety of our players, fans, volunteers, staff, and general public very seriously. CHL President Dan MacKenzie with Commissioners David Branch, Gilles Courteau, and Ron Robison have been monitoring the situation in regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) including what local, provincial, and federal health agencies have recommended. Following consultation with medical professionals and meetings today among the CHL Executive Council, and regional league Board of Governors, the CHL announces that the balance of the 2019-20 season and all hockey activity shall be paused immediately until further notice.”

CHL statement
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Prowlers postpone EOSHL championship celebrations due to COVID-19

As previously reported on this website, the Cornwall Prowlers of the EOSHL were looking forward to celebrating their championship, with a pair of community events on March 21; however, due to COVID-19 concerns, those plans have now been postponed.

The senior ‘A’ hockey team had scheduled a community skate for players, team staff, and fans, followed by a party at a local restaurant.

“No one will stop us from this party just a bit later now.”

Team message to fans posted on Facebook

The Prowlers hope to announce a new date for their celebratory events in the coming weeks.

Cornwall’s squad won the inaugural EOSHL championship in West Carleton on March 6 over the top-ranked and regular-season champion Rivermen.

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